7 months 3 weeks 1 day old
Knightley and I had a really good training session today, especially with our retrieve training. I worked on getting him to reach for his dumbell up and down, very close to the floor... then moving it so he had to twist around to grab it, or even take a couple of steps. We are working just on a good hold... getting some good 5-6 seconds quite reliably. I was even able to take my hand off the dumbell for like half a second and he held it nice and securely, like the champ he is! He tends to love holding things - when we go for walks he'll trot along with a stick for 5-10 minutes, so if I can just tap into that frame of mind, I think this part of the retrieve will be sorted. I have started saying 'thank you!' as his cue to give me the object, instead of 'yes!' which is my normal finishing marker. I like the idea of being courteous to your dog. Tomorrow I'll do some work with other objects, like spoons, pencils and the like.
We did some great eye contact work, then finished it up by working on the speed of Knightley's downs. Sometimes he isn't exactly prompt! I was thinking of completely retraining it, giving it a new cue and everything. We'll see I guess. That's what I've done with Knightley's "crate!". He wasn't all that good about obeying the "crate!" cue, so I started retraining from the beginning, then gave it the "box!" cue. It is working much better so far.
We had a great loose leash training walk today. By the end he was really sticking to my side. It takes so much patience though, and completely implacability and unwillingness to compromise. If you let yourself be pulled forward even a couple of steps because you couldn't be bothered, then you have ruined it for who knows how long. Pulling = never ever going forward, must must be the rule. Knightley must always only go forward if he is at my side. If he pulls ahead I walk backwards, pulling lightly on his collar then releasing when a paw moves in the right direction... until he is in the right place at my left side. Then I praise, treat, and proceed.
Anyway, it was a really positive day, although he does have the runs a bit as I fed him raw liver (as I mentioned last time - perhaps it was a bit much) and like quite a few dogs, it just made him a little runny. I should have started smaller, but it's extremely important he has liver in his diet. I thought he likely wouldn't have a problem because he's been having freeze dried liver for many months, but obviously it is a different beastie!
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